By Rashid Mahazi

I recently realised the number one thing that I like is variety. I never do the same thing every day or every week.

I think in part that led to my decision to hang up my boots and retire early from football after my time in Korea.

For the last two years of my career, I was confined to my apartment due to the pandemic and I was very limited in what I could do.

I felt like I was somewhat static in football, and I had an urge to do something different.

When I realised I was unlikely to progress to a higher level in my career, it was hard to justify to myself sacrificing time outside the game and missing out on doing other things that I loved.

It just became too comfortable for me and that was the one of the biggest reasons why I stopped playing football professionally.

I still love football, but I just have so many interests. When you are playing professionally, you just can’t pursue them all.

I’ve written poems, been a musician busking on the streets, done personal training, taken a sabbatical to travel to Africa and studied psychology. The latest thing I’ve started is mixed martial arts. Just 18 months ago, it was completely foreign to me, but I felt like trying something completely new.

That’s just the way I am, I guess!

It’s probably ironic that while I now have moved out of football to seek other opportunities, extracurricular pursuits helped me find balance when I was playing football.

In my last year in the A-League at the Wanderers, and during my two years in Korea, I felt mentally in the best space I had in my whole career. I put that down to the fact that I started studying during that period.

When I was studying, I cared about the subjects and how well I did, so if I had a bad game or a bad training session, I couldn’t just sit there and think about how sorry I felt for myself after a performance. I had an essay to do or a lecture to watch online, so it was a great distraction.

The second thing I love outside of variety is helping other people learn.

So being someone who is keen to try something new, I’ve also just started a new program, ‘Beyond Technique’ Football School, to help young kids learn how to become better footballers and better people.

I’ve always been someone who enjoyed studying the nuance and detail of the technical skills of players, and felt like during my career, I almost did the equivalent of a PHD in understanding football.

A big reason why I fell in love with the game was learning about the incredible technical skills players had. I would watch Zidane, Ronaldo and Robinho and break down their movements and I thought it was incredible to see the subtle things that were happening when these players had the ball.

I would love to apply my own learnings and understanding to young kids and now I’m retired, I want to give back to a system that I have been part of my whole life by utilising my own knowledge.

Equally, I know the importance of keeping yourself engaged in activities away from football, hence ‘Beyond’ in the title.

I’ve teamed up with my brother, Salim, and my former teammate and friend, Luc Jeggo, and the fundamental thing we focus on is using our life and professional football experiences to build the best young footballers – but also ensure those footballers become great people.

For every young player who is taking their football seriously, it’s like having an older brother who has been through it all, has their best interests at heart and can look out for them.

We’re hoping to create a holistic environment by providing a developmental network to help kids who are serious about their football and simultaneously develop their life skills and education.

Because what I’ve learned, you need to understand the technical side of football when you’re developing – but you also need the variety outside of it too.

Beyond Technique Football School

E: Rashid.btfootballschool[at]